Hours of Work Polarisation?

45 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2019

See all articles by Antonio Dias da Silva

Antonio Dias da Silva

European Central Bank (ECB)

Filippos Petroulakis

European Central Bank (ECB)

Athene Laws

Victoria University of Wellington

Date Written: October, 2019

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between hours per worker and employment polarisation. Our core question is whether hours per worker follow the same polarisation patterns as previously observed for employment, measured by either heads or total hours. Using the occupational task index measures of Acemoglu and Autor (2011), we find large relative declines in hours per worker in routine manual jobs – precisely the occupations most negatively affected by employment polarisation from routine-biased technical change. We also find a lower relative decline in hours per worker for non-routine cognitive analytical jobs, which are growing through polarisation. At the same time, hours per worker declined significantly more than the trend for non-routine manual physical occupations. Instead of a polarisation pattern, we find that hours per worker have been declining more in manual jobs (routine manual and non-routine manual physical). These patterns are observed across age, gender and education groups, with few exceptions and changes in intensity. The decline in hours per worker occurred mostly within sectors. Using a wage ranking of occupations instead of occupational task indices, the decline in hours per worker is monotonically related to wages. The results are specific to the European countries and the same patterns are not found using data for the United States.

Keywords: hours per worker, job polarisation, routine-biased technical change

JEL Classification: J23, J24, O33

Suggested Citation

Dias da Silva, Antonio and Petroulakis, Filippos and Laws, Athene, Hours of Work Polarisation? (October, 2019). ECB Working Paper No. 2324, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3478540

Antonio Dias da Silva (Contact Author)

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
Germany

Filippos Petroulakis

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/filippospetroulakis/

Athene Laws

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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